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Companionship, laughing together, and any of the bonding behaviors (that you feel comfortable with) can benefit you both. Affectionate contact is very nourishing, even without intercourse. (If birth control is not an issue, you may also like to try Von Urban’s technique in the preceding section.)

I have found myself wanting intercourse while I'm with my new boyfriend from time to time, although it has much less to do with horniness than with the feeling of wanting to be as close to him as physically possible. However, as we're getting closer on nonphysical levels all the time, it doesn't seem so urgent.—Gillian

As your sexual energy builds, remember to give it consciously to your partner, rather than simply surrendering to the whirlpool of pleasurable feelings (which increases sexual frustration). Use your imagination to send your energy to your partner. You can also browse through the Exchanges for techniques.

I suspect it's easier to give up orgasms if one can just cuddle up with one's warm, loving partner. My sweetheart used to gently hold my penis without any sort of movement. It was VERY pleasant and soothing, and it took the edge off any uncomfortable horniness. I could easily drift off to sleep with a smile on my face.—Kent

Openhearted, careful exchanges of affection can keep partners surprisingly content even without intercourse. Courtship is the ideal setting to allow fears of the other sex and of intimacy (which we all contract by virtue of time spent here on Planet Separation) to dissolve safely and slowly.

Some of the blissful experiences that lovers report with karezza are clearly independent of physical union. If you are a virgin, why not allow yourself the opportunity to experience them before you add intercourse to the mix? That way you’ll understand the minimal role of bodies in deep experiences of oneness. Virginity, or physical incapacity for intercourse, can be quite as irrelevant as orgasm.

Ilana and I got to know each other at a Cuddle Party (a gathering where fully clothed adults can hug within safe boundaries). Arousal is okay, but not the goal. Rather than rush into intercourse, we have spent the last three weeks exchanging lots of physical affection (ten occasions and four full nights together). Arousal is very much present, and we are both highly motivated to ride these wonderful waves of energy and to ride them as long as we can. We are finding that these are not the waves that either of us has experienced before. Very full heart, and big belly feelings now. It is as if we have moved over some threshold, moved through some curtain, or passed through some sort of portal into a world with unfamiliar rules.

Cuddling and non-goal oriented touch raise me to a height where I have a dramatically new point of view. The world I see is different. … More important to me, I feel myself entering a world where flow takes on real significance. I have long held the conviction that we live in an abundant world. Now I have the experience that this is so. My business is taking off, too.

what to do about menopausal pain associated with intercourse?

my husband referred me to your books as our sex life had completely fallen away. partly due to menopause (very painful intercourse) and partly because of resignation and anger on my part. my husband was addicted to porn for most of his adult life. he would swear to me that he had given it up, only to fall prey to it over and over and over again. i couldn't understand why he would rather have sex by himself with two dimensional images, rather than have sex with me as i always thought of myself as a very sexy and desirable woman. i chose to feel very very hurt by this and then during menopause my ability to have sex just sort of dried up. i lost libido and my desire to be open and to please him just went away too.

so now we are starting the exchanges for a second time. i have to rebuild my sense of trust and openess. i find myself criticizing him inside my head while we are doing the exchanges. he either doesn't follow the directions, or i just don't like the way he is touching me. when i tell him openly about my feelings he just gets defensive. we have been married 12 years and together most of 17 years. he feels better after the exchanges and sometimes i do too, but i think i am locked into a criticism mode that is hard to let go of out of feelings of hurt and anger.

i have always longed for the closeness that you and other people have described in the books. i always thought it was possible to maintain that close feeling associated with making love and was so disheartened when my husband or other partners would turn off, disappear, or go to sleep. now i understand the whole biological mechanism. i long for the closeness, heightened awareness and spiritual union that is so glowingly described. and i am grateful that he is willing to keep trying with me.

i might add that i did go to the doctor after much resistance to get estriol (bio-identical cream) which i have been using on my vagina and i had a voluntary cut to the skin on my vagina because there was an area that just kept tearing anytime my husband even got close to my vagina with his penis. i am still in recovery from this surgery, but it should prove to heal eventually. i do hope that the pain goes away once i start having intercourse on a regular basis. prior to stopping a couple of years ago no amount of lubrication of any kind would take away the pain.

thanks for any advice and or comments that anyone may want to add.

thanks so much for this work, marnia and will.

Hi there,

I just wanted to say that there are a few other (treatable) conditions that can cause that kind of pain. One is called vulvodynia and the other is vaginismus. It's just good to be aware of these things, because unfortunately many people, including doctors, are not, and so will have a tendency to tell people that have those problems that it is all in their head. So if you still have pain after recovering from your surgery you should probably be checked out for those things specifically, along with being checked for any infections.

thank you!

i will look into those two conditions online and see if they match my symptoms. i'm only 57 and don't want to have to give up on having loving connected sex just yet in my life. i appreciate all who read and respond to my post.

I see my wife in you

save for the tearing and doing the exchanges. She will soon try the estriol. Please keep us posted.
Last week the demons were with me, nasty critical voices in my head kept me awake. In the morning, rather than listing all of my insights about her nature, I simply stated that the demons visited and I wanted to move on. These were really wonderful, clear insights into how selfish she is and doesn't meet my needs.....I gave 'em up....I spent hours refining these gems and let them go. I was proud of my success and so asked for 10! (not 2) minutes of bonding behaviors/exchanges per day. She said yes and we are 3/5 (visiting relatives for Thanksgiving got in the way). Speaking of visiting relatives, it is always a trial. I am gregarious and neglect my Isadora in social situations. It takes days for us to recover from social activities. I am impressed with how quickly we have moved through her hurt feelings. I usually responded to her complaints defending my intentions and end up sulking. Removing her from the center of my happines, our success in doing the exchanges, and the promise that they will continue ("I'll try it for a while") has shifted something and I like it.

Sounds good

Aren't you about two weeks out from a glorious explosion, too? Sometimes you gotta rock your world to see where the chinks of light are.

Very exciting. Smile


You keep better track than me.
Just minutes ago I said it was time for our bonding meditation and she winced and told me to stop bugging her. I was so clear about my position, my goals, and what it meant to me AND remained unattached. When she said she didn't want to talk about it anymore (after she asked some questions), I moved on without rancor. I don't think this would have been possible if I was still using (or hungover). She did say that laying together before sleep should be enough. It will be for now.

So true.

I have found that to get back to basics you have to shake yourself up. "Only in the deepest valley can we sometimes see the brightest light."- Nixon? :)

Welcome Petula!

You sound like an amazing woman. You've already taking some very challenging steps. It's not easy to open the heart after so much resentment has built up...even when you know the resentment is a deadend. Smile

I don't want to discourage you from intercourse (which is a great past-time!). However, the key to those sparkly feelings you want is daily bonding behaviors. The Exchanges are full of them, of course, but they can get boring after the first time through. It's fine to be creative and pick other things from the bonding behavior list, or create your own loving, generous ways of being affectionate to get that connection going.

I'm glad it helps to know what our gentlemen are dealing with at a brain chemical level. Even the most amazing angels can easily get caught in the spokes of the wheel of today's avalanche of supranormal sexual stimulation. As one man said here recently, the habit forms so sneakily: "In like a needle, out like a plow!" (when one tries to unhook). It's like a spell that turns our princes into frogs. Wink

I wish I had the magic cure for the lubrication problem, but as I said, you may just want to back off of intercourse and emphasize really generous bonding behaviors instead for a while. Let your heart open more, and your body may follow.

Meanwhile, maybe take turns with *other* activities you enjoy. He can pick one one night, you the next. If you haven't noticed, we have a webpage here (See icon on left-hand of page, labeled "Bonding Behaviors & Exchange of the Day") devoted to activities (when you get tired of those in the book). The bonding behaviors are listed there, too. Click on the icon "Hugging Permitted."

I'll enable you to blog in case you want to share more of your adventure.

yes, we are still in the

yes, we are still in the bonding phase and i am not in any hurry yet to start the intercourse phase up again until i feel fully trusting and open and healed once again. i hope the body does follow. meanwhile it has been a lot of fun perusing the site and reading and watching at least 3 years of the monthly humor on this site! there are some really funny videos there! it really helps to laugh about all of this.

thank you marnia!


I can't set you up to blog just yet...due to the technical problem you reported. Sad Remind me once that is sorted out, if I forget.

It was me.

[quote=Marnia]I can't set you up to blog just yet...due to the technical problem you reported. :-([/quote]

Sorry: I goofed!
I was trying something in an ongoing battle against a vicious spambot. Unfortunatly, my "fix" proved to be over-zealous, so I removed it.
If things are broken in the next few days, report it.... and forgive me! Blame gmail and the malware that is exploiting some of its "features".



I finally found the back door used by the spambot to register (close to 1000 spammy accounts in 3 weeks). I can now shut it and stop the onslaught. This incident also allowed me to find the gmail hack the evildoers use to easily register many accounts with a single email, so I learned something. [sarcasm]Thank you Google! [/sarcasm] I'll shut that door as well.

embarrassing coincidence

As soon as I posted the above comment, the whole site became inaccessible for everybody for about 30 minutes. This is not what I had in mind when I spoke about shutting the doors to the spammers.
In fact, the downtime was purely coincidental and not related at all. I plead not guilty. The host had another hickup at that precise moment.

Marnia: I'll clean the mess. I still need to check a few things.